By Thomas Markwalder
Our Christmas tree topper is an old-fashioned, wire and glass star that we have had for years. While it is pretty and full of fond memories, it is unlit; so this year we decided to get a new one with lights. Perusing the aisles at Walmart, there was only a small selection of toppers and none with lights. In fact, there were none I liked even a little and I thought, with some chagrin, that perhaps we’d waited too late in the season. What they did have though, was an array of miniature LED light strands and that gave me an idea.
The star is a hollow, 3D shape, large enough to accommodate one of these small strands of lights. In fact, in prior years I have made it a point to leave a little slack in the light strand at the top of the tree so I could stuff a few of its bulbs into the star. It worked but the bulbs tended to fall out and they never really lit it up very well. After much in-aisle noodling over which strand to buy, I opted for a battery-powered set of twenty, mini, “warm white” LEDs.
Once home, I eagerly set about the task of lighting our star. Making use of leftover bread twisties, I grouped the bulbs into bundles of three and stuffed one bundle into each point of the star, leaving the last two bulbs for the middle. With batteries installed the star went back on the tree and the effect was delightful. A job well done!
A few nights later on my way to bed, following the usual drill, I switched off lights starting with the kitchen, then the dining room, then the Christmas tree, and finally, the living room. When I came back out a few minutes later to fill our water bottles, all was dark in the house except for our star. I’d forgotten to switch off the little battery pack that powers it.
So there it was, shining gloriously from atop the darkened tree with no other lights for competition. The sight of it stopped me in my tracks and as I gazed at it, I was filled with emotion. For in that moment, the light from the star was no longer that of “warm-white” LEDs from Walmart in a hollow glass star, it was the Light of Christ. It was His Light. His Light shining brightly and beautifully for all people, everywhere; a single, unfailing beacon in the darkness, bringing with it hope and showing us the way back to God.
Feeling compelled, I stepped forward and turned on the rest of the Christmas tree lights. Stepping back again, the sight that met me was simply majestic. To my eyes, all these new lights emanated from underneath the star, fanning outward in ever-growing numbers. Yet too, it was as though they were being drawn toward the star, following it like a comet’s tail. Each one tied to the one before it, leading all the way back to the star, back to Christ. The few lights nearest the star became for me, His first disciples; those who lived in His presence, heard His voice, saw His miracles, grieved at His death, rejoiced at His resurrection; and then went out to spread the gospel from one to another to another. The Light of Christ fills each life and through them shines upon still more lives; showing each the way, outward through time in an expanding, glowing train of Christ-lights. Lights of every color and shape, together, reflecting His Love through their faith in Him, reaching out, spreading His Light farther and farther.
It was the first time, in all the years and all the trees, that I truly saw something more than pretty things on a fir tree, and I am grateful to our Heavenly Father for showing it to me. It is a vision of hope and joy that I will carry with me all of my days.
And too I thought of how filling our old, hollow star with light had transformed it into something wondrous and new; that it had been completed by the one thing it had always been missing. Just as the Light of Christ, entered my heart not so long ago and changed it into something it could never be without Him.
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 4:6″